Synopses & Reviews
When Rivvy Neshama was twenty-two and about to get married, her mother gave her a book of handwritten recipes that taught her how to make a good roast — but not much else. And no one gave her the recipe to make a good marriage or a good life. That took years of searching on a path with many turns.
Now, like a handwritten recipe book, Recipes for a Sacred Life is passing on the most meaningful and inspiring stories from the authors life. From birth to death and in between; from dancing to forgiveness to sacred sex; and from a rabbi from Vienna to Irish Rita from the Bronx, they feature people and experiences that taught the author how to live a good life — one touched with sacredness. And, as it turned out, the best recipes came from her mom.
Written with heart and humor and steeped in ancient wisdom, these short, true tales reveal how ordinary encounters — with friends, nature, lovers, and strangers — can suddenly connect us with the sacred, adding love, joy, and purpose to our lives.
In the spirit of Anne Lamott, Mitch Albom, and Rachel Naomi Remen, Recipes for a Sacred Life is luminous and uplifting — a gift for all.
“A sacred life requires no ashrams or mountaintops, according to author Rivvy Neshama, who calls her stories from life “recipes.” She honors her mothers nearly blank recipe book who, like the author, “wasnt much of a cook” in Recipes for a Sacred Life: True Stories and a Few Miracles,
giving shape to a bright promise of awakening that comes from simple ingredients and lifes most everyday moments—sunrises, walks, animals, neighbors, parents, being a grandparent, and making lists. The authors inspiration ranges widely, from the Desiderata to the Chinese New Year, from Jewish Shabbat to a Rosh Hashanah forgiveness rite learned from Shakti Gawain. With her goal to add to the “wonder, love, and sacredness of your life,” these stories provide gentle nudges for waking up to a spiritual path. The tales carry a resonance similar to healing stories from Rachel Naomi Remens “Kitchen Table Wisdom.” - ForeWord Magazine
, November 8, 2013
“A reflective, joyful journey that will likely change the way you see the world.”
— Matthew Barber, Tony-nominated playwright of Enchanted April
“Inspiring, enlightening, and entertaining. Everyone should read this book. Sit back and enjoy!”
— Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., author of The New Golden Rules and Meditation As Medicine
“The stories in this book are indeed recipes. They are recipes for learning, enjoyment, and feeling the exhilaration of what it is to be alive! A literary gift....”
— John Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and Hoodwinked
“Morsels of experience served up with Rivvys special blend of wry wit and a warm heart. Each time I dip into her stories, I remember that living itself is delicious!” — Priscilla Stuckey, author of Kissed by a Fox: And Other Stories of Friendship in Nature
“Rivvy Neshama is a wonderful storyteller, and her book is filled with memorable tales. There is sweetness and light here, and a guide to thoughtful ways to enhance those daily miracles of life that connect us to our better selves, and to others.”
— Jay Neugeboren, author of The American Sun and Wind Moving Picture Company and You Are My Heart
“Its smart, funny, and moving. It invites in the believers and welcomes the skeptics, and reading it made me feel great!”
— Barbara Fisher, book critic and correspondent for the Boston Globe
“We gravitate toward stories because, like a map and compass, they direct us back home — home to an inspired heart. Rivvys stories will take you there … and with a few miracles in your pocket.”
— Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D., author of Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water and Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backwards
“Clear. Profound. Homey. This is the Eat, Pray, Love of everyday life. I love this book!”
— Marilyn Webb, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of The Good Death
“Rivvy's delightful stories open the heart and raise us to a higher level of compassion and generosity. Read them, one at a time, and then daydream on them … and you will take on a glow of joy and feel more secure in Gods world.”
— Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, author of Davening: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Prayer
“This is a wise and wonderful book of recipes to help cook up a more delicious life!”
— Ally Sheedy, film and stage actress and author of Yesterday I Saw the Sun: Poems
“It charms and inspires. What more could one ask?”
— Hal Zina Bennett, author of Write from the Heart: Unleashing the Power of Your Creativity
2013 Mom's Choice Award Gold winner
Redbook Reads January 2014 book club pick
"Neshama's stories are uplifting, witty, and wise: one can't go wrong with a recipe like that. The timeless wisdom she serves up is food for the soul. - Publishers Weekly
Appealing to any reader who likes a good story, Recipes for a Sacred Life is a collection of short, true tales steeped in the magic of day-to-day life and the wisdom of ancient traditions. From animal chats to forgiveness to sacred sex; from strangers on the subway to a shaman from New Jersey to Rita from the Bronx, Recipes answers such questions as: Do miracles happen on Fifth Avenue? Can you find God at a Howard Johnsons? And, do you give to the ones who are drunk? Written with heart and humor, these interrelated tales are created around those everyday encounters — with friends, nature, lovers, and strangers — that can suddenly put us in touch with the sacred, adding love, connection, and purpose to our lives.
Recipes for a Sacred Life
colects on the most meaningful and inspiring stories from the authors life. From birth to death and in between; from dancing to forgiveness to sacred sex; and from a rabbi from Vienna to Irish Rita from the Bronx, they feature people and experiences that taught the author how to live a good life — one touched with sacredness. And, as it turned out, the best recipes came from her mom.
In the spirit of Anne Lamott and Rachel Naomi Remen, this Mom's Choice Award Gold Medal Winner
collection of short, true tales is wise, funny, and inspiring. From dancing to forgiving, from walking at dawn to sharing dinner with a stranger, Recipes for a Sacred Life
invites us to experience the sacred in unexpected places and everyday life. The stories are magical yet down-to-earth and steeped in ancient wisdom. They remind us of the sacredness of our own lives, and connect us more deeply with love, joy, and purpose.
Not your typical spiritual book, Recipes for a Sacred Life is rich in heart and humor. And the life experiences it relatesfrom the searching in youth, to marriage and divorce, birth and death, parenting and grandparentingwill resonate with readers of all ages. It is a book for anyone seeking inspiration and guidance to live a more spiritual life, and for everyone who enjoys a good story. Luminous and uplifting, its a gift for all.
About the Author
Rivvy Neshama is a writer, editor, and community organizer who holds a bachelors degree in philosophy from Bryn Mawr College and masters degrees in comparative literature, social work, and education. She has been a teacher and social worker in Harlem, a campaign manager in Boulder, and a college instructor in Queens. Neshama has written for such national publications as Ms., Glamour, and The New York Times. Her spiritual path draws from many sources: Eastern and Western religions, Native traditions, Sufis and shamans, and her mom.
Table of Contents
Part 1. Basic Ingredients: A Good Day to Die … or Not; The Lord Is with Me … or Whatever
Part 2. The Sun Is Rising: Hello to the Sun; The First Few Steps
Part 3. Animal Chats and Other Unions with Nature: In the Woods; Animal Chats
Part 4. To Forgive Is Divine: Looking for God in All the Wrong Places; What the Dalai Lama Said
Part 5. Friends and Neighbors, Lovers and Strangers: Do You Give to the Ones Who Are Drunk?; Everything I Know About Sacred Sex
Part 6. A Nature Recipe from Frank Lloyd Wright: Love Nature; Stay Close to Nature
Part 7. Sacred Space. Sacred Time: A Sacred Space; A Sacred Home
Part 8. Soul Food: Mrs. Zimnoski and Her Vegetables; Sacred Sound Bites
Part 9. Rituals and Celebrations: Birth to Death and In-Between: Meditations on Meditation; Heart Like a Crystal
Part 10. This, Too, Is True: Fortune Cookie Karma; Do a Mitzvah. Whats a Mitzvah?